A guide for gay dads

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1 A guide for gay dads

2 Produced by Stonewa Registered Charity No In partnership and sponsored by The London Sperm Bank and The Big Lottery Fund

3 Wecome. Gay men often pay an important part in their famiies as brothers, sons, unces, nephews and godfathers. Gay men aso provide ove and support for the chidren in their extended famiies. But many gay men are aso, or want to be, dads to chidren. Whether through adoption and fostering, or bioogicay fathering a chid, gay men who want to be dads can be. But the decisions you have to make can be compex. This is why Stonewa, with the kind support of The London Sperm Bank and The Big Lottery Fund, has produced this guide. This comprehensive guide tes you everything you need to know about becoming a dad. It aso provides information about your rights if you re a dad or have caring responsibiities. Finay it wi point you in the direction of further expert advice and support to hep you during the process. We hope this guide wi hep you on your exciting journey to fatherhood. Ben Summerski Chief Executive, Stonewa

4 The most important questions Deciding to be a dad is not a sma decision. The first and most important questions you need to ask are why you want to have chidren and what differences it wi make to your ife. Are you ready to have chidren? Are you ready to make the necessary changes to your ife to enabe you to have a chid? Do you have a partner? What does he think? And how do you want to go about starting a famiy? This guide wi hep you answer some of those questions, and more that you ve probaby not thought of yet. The different ways of becoming a dad Stonewa has produced this guide to hep you through the process of becoming a dad. Each section expains a different way to become a dad adoption, co-parenting, surrogacy, sperm donation and fostering. It aso incudes crucia information about your ega rights as a father and some top tips, many from gay dads themseves, on being a dad. Gossary Artificia insemination Any means by which an egg can be fertiised using sperm other than through penetrative sex. This can be done at home or in a icensed cinic. Birth mother The woman who gives birth to a chid incuding surrogates and women receiving donated eggs. Bioogica father The man who has geneticay fathered the chid. This is a different concept from ega parenthood. Donor (known) Someone donating eggs, sperm, embryos or other materia whose identity is known to the person(s) receiving the donation. Donor (unknown) Someone donating eggs, sperm, embryos or other materia whose identity is not known to the person(s) receiving the donation. If conception takes pace at a icensed cinic in the UK, the donor s detais wi be stored on the Register of Information, currenty hed by the Human Fertiisation and Embryoogy Authority. If the donor donated after Apri 2005, his or her identity wi be avaiabe to the donor conceived person from the age of 18. Foster carer Someone who fosters chidren but does not hod parenta responsibiity for the chid. Lega parent A ega status reating to issues such as inheritance, nationaity and financia responsibiity in reation to a chid. Lega parenthood is distinct from parenta responsibiity, athough ega parents do sometimes automaticay have parenta responsibiity. Parenta eection forms Forms that are used at a icensed fertiity cinic if the birth mother is not married or in a civi partnership. They nominate, ony with the birth mother s consent, who is to be considered a second parent to the chid. Parenta eection forms give the second parent ega parenthood but parenta responsibiity is ony obtained by being isted on the birth certificate or through the Court. Parenta order An order issued by the Court to the intended parents of a surrogate chid which extinguishes the ega parenthood of the surrogate mother and, if she has one, her partner and reassigns ega parenthood and parenta responsibiity to the intended parents. Parenta responsibiity A ega status giving the authority for someone to make decisions about a chid s care, whether or not they are aso a ega parent. Parenta responsibiity can be acquired by being the birth mother, by being married to or in a civi partnership with the birth mother, by being named on the birth certificate (if you are a ega parent), by entering into a parenta responsibiity agreement with the chid s ega parents (though ony certain peope can sign these) or by court order. Prospective adopters report A report compied by a socia worker recommending whether an individua or coupe are suitabe to adopt. Sperm donor A ega status for men donating sperm who are egay considered to have reinquished responsibiity for any chid conceived using their donation. A man can ony be considered a sperm donor if he does not have penetrative sex with the recipient of the donation. Surrogate mother A woman who has a baby with the intention, from before conception, of reinquishing ega parenthood of the chid. A woman can ony be considered a surrogate mother if the chid is conceived using artificia insemination and not conceived through penetrative sex.

5 Contents 1 Adoption How to adopt 4 The aw and adoption 7 Your stories 8 2 Fostering How to foster 10 Who s the parent? 11 Your stories 12 A guide for gay dads 3 Surrogacy Finding a surrogate 14 The aw and surrogacy 16 Your stories 18 4 Co-parenting Becoming a co-parent 20 The aw and co-parenting 21 Your stories 23 Who are the parents? 24 5 Donating sperm How to donate sperm 27 The aw and sperm donation 28 Your stories 29 6 Being a dad Chidren from a former reationship 31 Coming out to your kids 32 Your stories 33 The aw and being a dad 35 7 Further resources 36

6 1 Adoption There are around 4,000 chidren waiting to be adopted in the UK at any one time. Gay men, either individuay or in coupes, are aowed to adopt in the UK. Like a potentia adopters, gay peope must meet strict criteria to be aowed to adopt. The soe guiding principe for adoption agencies is now to do what is in the best interest of the chid. Being gay is not, in and of itsef, a barrier to adoption. How to appy to be considered for adoption A appications for adoption in the UK must go through an adoption agency. You appy to an agency to be part of a poo of potentia adopters, and if approved you wi then be avaiabe for consideration by agencies seeking adoptive famiies to match with a chid. The process is proportionatey extensive and thorough and wi take severa months. Before pacing a chid with a famiy, for ife, everyone invoved has to be confident that you can provide a oving and supportive home for that chid. You (and your partner if you have one) wi be assessed both together, and individuay. This is exacty the same process for heterosexua coupes, singe peope and gay coupes. There are extensive resources avaiabe to hep you which are isted in the further resources section of this guide. Choosing an adoption agency You must choose an adoption agency. There are two main types of adoption agency: Loca authorities, either your oca authority or one esewhere Vountary or independent adoption agencies A ist of adoption agencies can be found on The British Association of Adoption and Fostering s website (www. baaf.org.uk). Whichever you choose you go through the same extensive process. As you wi work with an agency for the duration of the process it is important that you choose one you fee comfortabe with. You may fee apprehensive about choosing an adoption agency. There have been some reported cases of adoption agencies with reigious affiiations refusing to hande gay adopters. This is now competey unawfu. Agencies cannot discriminate against adopters for being gay because the interests of the chid must now aways be put first. It s good, however, if before choosing an agency you ook into: Whether they have deat with gay adopters before Whether they have specific information on their website for gay adopters The findings of their atest Ofsted report Whether they are members of Stonewa s Diversity Champions good practice forum for empoyers Whether they are members of New Famiy Socia a support group for gay and esbian adopters 4

7 Adoption In contacting an agency you re not committed to working with them. When you first make contact with an adoption agency they wi send you an information pack and invite you to an information meeting, usuay within two months. When you do choose an agency you wi compete your forma request to be assessed. If your agency accepts your request, they wi then aocate you a socia worker. Proving you re a suitabe candidate You be invited to a series of group preparation sessions where you wi meet with a number of other appicants to earn more about the chidren in need of adoption and the processes invoved. This gives you penty of opportunity to find out about adoption and how it might affect you. If you sti wish to proceed you wi then be visited at home by your socia worker. Through the appication process you wi need ceary to demonstrate that you can provide a oving and stabe home for a chid and meet their individua needs. You wi be asked a ot of questions by your socia worker during the process covering why you want to adopt and what you can offer a chid. Your socia worker wi aso visit you (and your partner) at home approximatey ten times to assess both your home environment and your potentia for parenthood. The process is known as home study. As part of their questions to hep them understand what you can offer a chid and how your experiences may make you a good parent, your socia worker wi ask you questions about your past reationships, famiy reationships and other persona matters. This is entirey norma. It s important that you be open and honest with your socia worker and are frank about how you fee your experiences have made you a better prospective parent. The entire process is very in-depth and many potentia adopters fee sensitive about the persona nature of some of the questions. This is an entirey natura response. If you fee that you re being asked inappropriate questions or if you fee that your socia worker has demonstrated negative attitudes towards you because you are gay, you shoud first ask your socia worker the reevance of the questions they are asking. If you do not fee that your socia worker addresses your concerns you shoud contact the adoption agency. You wi have aready been given detais of the agency s compaints process. For more information on how to make a compaint pease visit You wi need to provide at east three referees that your socia worker can tak to face-to-face. In some cases your previous partners wi be contacted for interviews. You wi need to have a medica conducted by your own GP. This is to ensure that there are no known heath issues that might prevent you permanenty caring for a chid. The socia worker wi coate a the information he or she records into a Prospective Adopters Report and you have ten days to chaenge anything that you disagree with in the report before it is finaised. After the home study and a the required forms and checks are fied in and carried out, you wi be invited to attend an adoption pane meeting. At this meeting the pane wi decide whether or not they want to recommend you to the agency as a good candidate for adoption. They wi ask both you and your socia worker a number of questions. 5

8 Adoption Adopting a chid from overseas It is very difficut, though not impossibe, to adopt chidren from abroad. The British government requires a number of criteria to be met for inter-country adoption to take pace. There are aso many extra measures that must be taken by the intended parents. First, you shoud tak to an adoption agency that is certified for inter-country adoptions. Consut the Department for Education website and contact the Foreign & Commonweath Office to find out more detais before engaging in any adoption process abroad. It is important to note that not a countries wi consider appications from gay appicants. Did you know? Gay and esbian adopters are more open to adopting oder chidren and sibing groups Gay adopters are often more ethnicay mixed as coupes In Engand in same-sex coupes adopted chidren 2% of the 3,200 chidren adopted in Engand during the year ending 31st March 2009 were under 1 year od 72% were aged between 1 and 4 years od 23% were aged between 5 and 9 years od 3% were aged between 10 and 15 years od What happens if I am turned down? If you are not approved to be an adopter you can appea to the agency or appy for an independent review. The review wi ook at the case and send a recommendation back to the agency which wi then make the fina decision. You shoud ensure that you know exacty why your appication was rejected, especiay if you beieve that you were turned down on the basis of your sexua orientation. Try to get the expanation in writing if you can. If you are rejected, you sti have the right to appy to a different agency. Success! What now? Once you ve been approved to be an adopter your socia worker wi begin the task of searching for an appropriate chid. Your adoption agency wi te you what happens next. For more information visit 6

9 Adoption The aw and adoption The Adoption and Chidren Act 2002 and the Adoption and Chidren (Scotand) Act 2007 aowed same-sex coupes to adopt jointy in Engand and Waes. Any unmarried coupe, incuding a same-sex coupe, can now appy to be considered for adoption as ong as they can demonstrate that their partnership is an enduring famiy reationship. Rights for your partner Now that it s ega for same-sex coupes to adopt jointy, it is much easier to secure parenta rights for your partner. If you adopt as an individua, your civi partner can either appy for parenta responsibiity or adopt your chid at a ater date. Adoption eave and pay As a gay man you have the same rights as heterosexuas to adoption eave and Statutory Adoption Pay, however, both partners in a coupe wi not receive the same benefits or amount of eave. You wi, as a coupe, need to decide which of you is to be considered the primary caregiver. To be eigibe for both Statutory Adoption Pay and adoption eave you and your partner must have been empoyed by your empoyers for at east 26 weeks prior to the beginning of the week you are matched with a chid. In order to access these rights you need to provide your empoyer with written proof that you are adopting. You are aowed to start taking your eave either from the day your chid moves in or up to 14 days before you expect him or her to arrive. You need to discuss with your empoyer when you pan to take your eave and notify them of any changes at east 28 days in advance. If you eave your job for any reason, the primary caregiver wi sti be eigibe for Statutory Adoption Pay as ong as you don t start working for another empoyer. Internationa adoption cases have sighty different rues for adoption eave. The UK agency you use for the adoption shoud provide you with this information. The primary caregiver wi receive Statutory Adoption Pay, paid either by his empoyer or the state for up to 39 weeks, and adoption eave for up to 52 weeks. The partner of a primary caregiver is eigibe for two weeks paid eave. 7

10 Adoption Your stories Aaron and Lewis s story We are a coupe in our eary 40s who have been together for19 years. We originay approached our oca authority but we were tod that they woud not be abe to pace chidren with us because we were geographicay too cose to the area the chidren woud come from. We then approached a neighboring authority and attended their information evening in February We had done a ot of preparation before approaching the authority. We had read books on attachment issues, one of us had aready given up work, we had made aterations to our home to best accommodate the famiy we wanted and one of us had become a governor at what is now our chidren s schoo. Our initia home visit by a socia worker took pace in Apri to confirm our residency and other basic issues. In Juy we attended the first of four a-day preparation courses. In August we were aocated an assessing socia worker who did eight visits to our home which ooked at every aspect of our ife, experiences, expectations and attitudes. We competed many pieces of work such as chronoogies of our ives from birth to present incuding a residences, jobs, schoos and significant events, our typica day, our story, descriptions of who we are from each of our perspectives, a pet questionnaire, financia discosure form, safety checkist for the home, famiy tree and eco map, as we as attending ega evenings and fu medicas. A this work provided the materia for our fina assessment and was competed in six months. We were approved as adopters by the independent pane in March In May 2009 we were first approached to consider the two chidren we came to adopt. They were paced with us in December 2009, an unusuay ong wait and were egay adopted by us in June We have two chidren, our son is seven and our daughter is five. It is most definitey the best thing we have ever done. Our journey has been very enjoyabe and we beieve this is argey due to the research we did before we approached our adoption agency, the many books we read about chidren, the chidcare experience we undertook and ooking at the whoe process of assessment as something that we needed to manage. A of this, we beieve, is essentia to ensuring the positive, sustainabe outcomes that adoptive parents and famiies want. We have good days and bad days but there are many more good days than bad and every day is amazing. Peter s story My partner and I are currenty going through the process of adoption. We have been approved to adopt and are currenty in the midde of the matching process. We ooked into various options when we first started thinking about having another chid two years ago. We got very excited about surrogacy but that never reay happened. It s been a fantastic experience. You earn so much about parenting through the preparation course and it s a great experience. It is fantastic what you earn through this course that you woudn t have the opportunity to earn if you chose any of the other routes. To prepare ourseves for the adoption process my partner and I both did vountary work with chidren. I woud recommend that potentia adopters enjoy it. Reaise that even though sometimes it s daunting you get there in the end. I see peope getting reay pent up about everything. Just reax and make sure you forge a good reationship with your socia worker. You have the option over which adoption agency to use so weigh those choices up before making your decision. I think it s important for potentia adopters, gay or straight, to reaise that you re probaby not going to get a baby and the chid you get is going to have some amount of need due to their experiences. However, I think peope tend to forget that that can happen anyway. The needs your chid wi have are unknown, whether you adopt them or are bioogicay reated. 8

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12 2 Fostering Fostering takes a significant commitment but many gay men find it incrediby rewarding. Chidren in the care system have often experienced negect or abuse and foster carers need to be patient and abe to offer significant support to chidren and young peope. You must aso accept that the roe of foster carer is a temporary one. How to appy to become a foster carer Gay men can foster chidren either as individuas or as coupes in Engand, Scotand and Waes. Choosing an agency Just as with adoption, you wi need to choose a fostering agency. Many agencies dea with both fostering and adoption. There are two main types of fostering agency: Loca authorities Vountary or independent agencies A ist of fostering agencies can be found on the British Association of Adoption and Fostering s website ( Like adoption, you wi go through an extensive process prior to receiving approva to be a foster carer. Your primary consideration shoud be to find an agency near where you ive. Many fostering agencies wi ony work with foster parents within a certain area. This is to minimise the disruption caused to chidren in your care. There are many things to think about when choosing a fostering agency. As you wi work with an agency for the duration of the process it is important that you choose one you fee comfortabe with. Before choosing an agency, you may want to find out: Whether they have any other same-sex foster famiies on their books The findings of their atest Ofsted report Whether they are members of Stonewa s Diversity Champions good practice forum for empoyers What support you can expect from them do they have a 24 hour support ine? What can you expect from their ink worker? The training they offer What the process for getting pacements is What oca authorities use them Once you have submitted an appication to an agency they wi assign you a socia worker. Types of foster care There are quite a few different sorts of fostering arrangement and you shoud be cear about what you can offer. Emergency: an arrangement that occurs when chidren need a safe pace to stay right away, often unti their court case is heard or whist under poice protection Short-term: chidren stay with a foster carer for a period of time sometimes up to two years unti decisions are made about their futures by the Court Long-term or permanent: occurs when it is unsuitabe for the chid to be adopted. The chid stays with the foster famiy unti he or she reaches ega aduthood Remand fostering: when a young person is remanded by the Court and sent to a speciay trained foster carer Short breaks: reguar arrangement used by parents of disabed chidren or those with behavioura or deveopmenta probems where the chid visits another famiy so their parents or norma carers can have a break Kinship: when a chid is cared for by famiy or friends peope he or she aready knows Private: when parents arrange for their chid to be cared for by someone who isn t cose famiy or the chid s parent for more than 27 days. The oca authorities must be notified of this arrangement as it is a ega requirement that they check up on the chid s wefare. If you fai to do so you may be iabe to prosecution 10

13 Fostering Proving you re a suitabe candidate Simiar to with adoption you wi be appointed a socia worker who wi assess you on whether you can provide a stabe home for foster chidren. Your agency may provide you and any members of your househod with in-depth training; however many agencies wi ony offer this after you ve been approved as a foster carer. It wi give you detais about the fostering system, about the chaenges that chidren going into foster care often face and about how to manage being a foster carer. As part of their questions to hep them understand whether you woud make a good foster parent, your socia worker wi ask you many persona questions. This is entirey norma. It is important that you are open and honest with your socia worker and frank about how you fee your experiences have made you a better prospective foster carer. The entire process is very in-depth and you may fee sensitive about the persona nature of many of the questions. If, however, you fee that you re being asked inappropriate questions or if you fee that your socia worker has demonstrated negative attitudes towards you because you are gay, you shoud first ask your socia worker the reevance of the questions they are asking. If you do not fee that your socia worker addresses your concerns you shoud contact the fostering agency. For more information on how to make a compaint pease visit Fostering LGB youth If you re interested in fostering esbian, gay or bisexua young peope, there are organisations ike The Abert Kennedy Trust (based in Manchester and London) who specificay offer this service. You can foster as an individua, coupe or a famiy and must be over the age of 21. The Trust ooks after young peope who cannot ive at home, are iving in a dangerous environment or who are having a crisis. See for more information. Who s the parent? Foster carers do not have parenta responsibiity for the chidren they ook after. In a norma fostering situation the ega parents and the oca authorities share parenta responsibiity, so as a foster carer you wi have to work cosey with them. Specia guardianship recognises situations where it is not possibe for foster chidren to ive with their ega parents again. Specia guardians generay share parenta responsibiity for the chid with the ega parents. Your socia worker wi make a fu report to a fostering pane who wi decide whether or not you are suitabe to be a foster parent. This pane wi pass on their recommendation to your agency for them to make a fina decision and notify you in writing. Often this approva has conditions or guideines, and these wi be sent to you aong with your approva. 11

14 Fostering Your stories Robert s story The assessment process was very ong, over a year, and invoved a ot of visits, checks and training. The training was exceent and I enjoyed it. It was very cear that our first pacement reay needed somewhere safe to stay, peope who woud keep an eye out for him now and again and be supportive if requested. He is sti in contact with us and in fact when he does contact me it is because he knows he can rey on me as someone to tak to and support him who beieves in him. When it does get tough, stick at it. Decide why you re doing this, and how you are intending to support the young person and in what ways. This way you can understand your strengths and weaknesses that you have to work on. Be prepared to be wrong, and hande it gracefuy and with respect. Try to know when you are vunerabe to making bad judgements and don t be afraid to share these with someone you can trust. James s story My partner and I chose to become carers for the Abert Kennedy Trust (AKT) because this woud aow us to have a famiy environment and parenting responsibiities but without turning our whoe ives upside down. We had numerous visits from AKT socia workers as part of the seection process. We were asked a ot of searching questions about ourseves and our own upbringing. Much of this part of the training was about taking through issues and scenarios that coud arise with having a young person in the house and how we woud hande these kinds of situations. We then had a few days of forma training, with ots of other prospective carers, about ooking after young peope from chaenging backgrounds or who are experiencing a ot of emotiona turmoi. Eary on I think I probaby underestimated the size of the commitment that we were getting into. Homeess young peope, by definition, come from chaenging backgrounds and it may take time to find anything out about the person that s suddeny iving in your home. Tacking behavioura issues with a difficut teenager can aso be very hard work and a bit unnerving at times. It s an emotiona roer-coaster, with down days as we as up days. However, overa, the fostering experience has been a very positive one that has brought a huge amount of chaenge and variety to my ife and aowed us to give something positive to the word and make a huge difference to the ives of some very disadvantaged young peope. I woud recommend it to anyone who has enough time to give to another person, a ot of patience and a spare room in the house. 12

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16 3 Surrogacy Surrogacy is the process by which a woman has a baby with the intention of reinquishing her parenta rights to an intended parent or coupe. In the UK there are very strict aws reating to surrogacy. It is unawfu for any individua or organisation to charge to hep you find a surrogate or hep you reach agreement with a surrogate. It is aso unawfu for you to advertise that you are ooking for a surrogate mother. If you want to have a chid via surrogacy you shoud seek speciaist ega advice. Types of surrogacy There are two different types of surrogacy: traditiona surrogacy and gestationa surrogacy. Both of these are ega in the UK, but neither are ega if they invove a commercia payment. How to find a surrogate You need to find a surrogate mother. However, if you want a gestationa surrogate you wi aso need to find an egg donor. Where do I find a surrogate? In the UK it is iega to advertise for a surrogate mother. This can make it difficut for peope to find a surrogate and can make it tempting for peope to trave abroad where aws covering finding a surrogate are ess strict. If you decide to go abroad for surrogacy, it is critica that you take speciaist ega advice in both your home and destination country as very serious compications can arise in reation to your chid s nationaity status, immigration rights and the payment of anything other than reasonabe expenses. It is not a case of opting in to a foreign system of aw which may be more ibera than surrogacy aw in the UK. If you go abroad for a surrogacy arrangement you must ensure that you compy with UK aw as we. In the UK, there are organisations ike Surrogacy UK and COTS that can hep potentia surrogates and intended parents to come in contact with each other. Surrogacy agencies in the UK ony act awfuy if they are nonprofit making. Traditiona surrogacy In traditiona surrogacy, the chid is geneticay reated to the surrogate mother she can become pregnant through home sef-insemination or with the aid of a fertiity cinic, using the sperm of one of the intended parents. Traditiona surrogacy tends to be cheaper than the host method because it does not necessariy require assistance from a fertiity cinic uness you want hep with insemination of sperm. Gestationa surrogacy In gestationa surrogacy, the surrogate is not geneticay reated to the chid. Instead an embryo that is prepared in a fertiity cinic using the sperm of one of the intended parents and a donated egg is impanted into the surrogate mother. With gestationa surrogacy you have greater contro over your chid s materna genetic materia as you can choose the egg you use. 14

17 Surrogacy Where do I find an egg donor? There are a range of options for you to find an egg donor. You can either seek a known donor or an unknown donor. Given the medica procedures invoved, egg donation can ony be done through a fertiity cinic. Fertiity cinics have a responsibiity to ensure that egg donors are not paid anything other than imited expenses. A known donor is someone you know who is wiing to donate one or more of their eggs to hep you conceive. In a surrogacy arrangement you may wish for one partner to donate sperm and a cose reative of the other partner to donate eggs. This wi mean the chid has a genetic ink to both partners. An unknown donor is someone you do not know whose eggs you have secured via a fertiity cinic. In the UK there is often a waiting ist for peope wishing to use donated eggs. Some gay men seek treatment abroad where donor eggs may be more readiy avaiabe. You wi however need to confirm with any foreign cinic whether they can hep with a surrogacy arrangement. You shoud aso take care to check the rights to information about the donor you and your chid wi have in ater ife, since the rues are often very different from the rues in the UK. Anyone who donates eggs or embryos in the UK after 1 Apri 2005 is abe to be contacted by any resuting chid, if the chid wants to, once they reach the age of 18. Donations before this were anonymous. How do I choose a surrogate? The first thing to remember is that the choice is both yours and the surrogate s. They have to be happy with you as we as you with them. When choosing a surrogate for your chid, the most important things to ensure are that the woman is heathy and is physicay abe to carry your chid to fu term and that she is someone you fee confident in and happy to work with. Make sure you ask about any medica conditions she might have, especiay if you have chosen traditiona surrogacy because these coud be passed on to your chid. It is a good idea for you to visit her GP together to discuss her medica history and how this may affect the surrogacy. How do we conceive? Conceiving with a surrogate can happen through artificia insemination at home or artificia insemination at a cinic. If you conceive through sexua intercourse the aw wi not cassify your arrangement as a surrogacy, and this may make it difficut for you to secure your position as your chid s parents. You, your partner and your surrogate wi need to discuss what method you wish to foow. Using a fertiity cinic is ikey to incur costs whist artificia insemination at home can sometimes prove compicated. For information on the different methods of conception read Stonewa s Pregnant Pause. Copies can be obtained from Stonewa s Information Service ( ) or downoaded from 15

18 Surrogacy Surrogacy agreements In the UK, surrogacy agreements are not egay binding. Pease note that it is unawfu for a awyer, or other third party, to be invoved in drawing up a surrogacy agreement in the UK on a commercia basis. Courts wi aways act in the best interest of the chid, regardess of what the surrogate and intended parents agreed beforehand, and wi automaticay consider the surrogate mother the ega parent of the chid. You shoud seek ega advice if you are considering a surrogacy arrangement. Everyone invoved in a surrogacy agreement shoud aso update their wis in case anything happens before a parenta order is obtained after the birth. Payment UK aw expects you to pay no more than reasonabe expenses to your surrogate mother. There are, however, no strict rues as to what constitutes reasonabe expenses since it depends on the facts of your particuar situation. Reasonabe expenses typicay incudes maternity cothes, oss of earnings, trave, medications and vitamins and other expenses which are reated to the pregnancy. During the surrogacy Once the surrogate is trying to conceive it is important that she doesn t have unprotected sex with her husband or partner. If she does, it may be difficut to determine that you are the parent. The aw and surrogacy Under the Human Fertiisation and Embryoogy Act 2008, the birth mother of a chid born through a surrogacy arrangement is aways considered the ega parent unti this is changed by the Court. Even if you have used an egg donor and the surrogate mother is geneticay unreated to the chid, she wi be named on the birth certificate as the chid s mother. If the surrogate is married or in a civi partnership, her partner or husband wi automaticay be considered the chid s other ega parent even if you are the chid s bioogica father. Other than in certain rare circumstances, it is not usuay possibe for the surrogate s husband or civi partner to refuse their parenta status, even if they do not want to be treated as a parent. If your surrogate is unmarried, the bioogica father wi usuay be considered the ega father at birth. If you conceive through a fertiity cinic you wi need to compete the forms to nominate the second parent. It is possibe for the non-bioogica father instead of the bioogica father to be nomintated if consent is given. Becoming a ega parent parenta orders Parenta orders confer fu parenta rights upon the intended parents and extinguish those of the surrogate, and her husband or civi partner. They are designed to be a streamined process especiay for surrogacy situations which are an aternative to adoption. Parenta orders are made by the Court and can ony be made with the consent of the surrogate mother and her partner. After the order is granted, the birth certificate wi be reissued with yours and your partner s name. 16

19 Surrogacy Before 6 Apri 2010, ony heterosexua married coupes were eigibe to appy for parenta orders, but since then gay coupes have aso been aowed to appy, whether they are civi partners or not. You must, however, be in a reationship in order to appy for a parenta order you can t appy aone. You must appy for a parenta order within six months of birth and you have to meet a number of conditions to be awarded an order. You shoud seek speciaist ega advice to hep you obtain a parenta order. The chid must have been conceived artificiay (this incudes home insemination) You and your partner must be over 18 and in a civi partnership or an enduring famiy reationship One of you must be geneticay reated to the chid One of you must be domicied (a compex ega concept which does not simpy mean where you ive) in the UK, Channe Isands or Ise of Man The chid must be iving with you when appying for a parenta order The surrogate mother and the chid s second ega parent must fuy consent to the order. Your surrogate mother cannot give vaid consent unti the chid is six weeks od You cannot have paid your surrogate any more than reasonabe expenses uness, exceptionay, you have court authorisation What do I do if the surrogate wants to keep the baby? In the UK, surrogacy agreements are not egay binding, and you wi not be abe to obtain a parenta order from the Court uness your surrogate agrees. However, in the very rare situations in which a surrogate has changed her mind, the Court has shown sympathy to the position of intended parents, and it may be possibe to secure your position by other means, athough this wi depend on the Court s view of what is in your chid s best interests and there are no guarantees. Parenta eave Paternity eave is ony appicabe to men who are ega parents of chidren or who are in a reationship with the birth mother. Maternity eave is ony avaiabe to the birth mother. In a surrogacy arrangement this wi mean that you wi ony be abe to obtain statutory paternity eave if you are considered a ega parent. If you re not then neither you nor your partner is automaticay abe to obtain the statutory two weeks paternity eave. As you are not adopting the chid, as intended parents you wi be unabe to appy for adoption eave Many of Stonewa s Diversity Champions, a good practice forum for empoyers, have incusive eave poicies for their empoyees which enabe anyone who is considered primary caregiver for a chid, regardess of how that chid is conceived, to take a set amount of eave. You shoud approach your empoyer to see whether their eave poicy is incusive. 17

20 Surrogacy Your stories David and Marcus s story Marcus and I originay considered adoption but we wanted for at east one of us to have a genetic ink to our chidren so surrogacy was the ogica choice. Research and more research was our first step. It is extremey important that you understand how the new aws work for yoursef and don t rey on cinics or organisations to understand the aw. There is no substitute for reading, researching and asking as many questions as you can. Whie we wanted to go through surrogacy rather than adoption we wanted to do it in the most ethicay sound way possibe. The UK with its atruistic rather than commercia approach to surrogacy egisation was aigned with our persona vaues. We found our surrogate through Surrogacy UK which we chose due to their friendship first approach. We were concerned that it woud be difficut to meet someone who was wiing to hep us. We coudn t have been further from the truth. Matt and Simon s story We found an organisation COTS to hep us. We registered our detais and they sent them to surrogates. A surrogate seected us and we were then sent her detais. We iked her so we met up and the reationship deveoped from there. We decided to go ahead with the agreement and started inseminations. This woud entai the usua pot and syringe at her house. The aws regarding this can be quite compicated, a we woud recommend is to read as much information as you can. Importanty, once you have decided that you woud ike to have chidren stop questioning yoursef and over anaysing it. Just go with the fow. There are some unique chaenges that arise for a same-sex coupe going through surrogacy. For exampe how do you decide who the father is going to be without it adversey impacting on your reationship? With that in mind earn as much as you possiby can from every possibe resource and keep the ines of communication open within your own partnership and with other coupes gay or straight. 18

21 19

22 4 Co-parenting Co-parenting is where two peope agree to conceive a chid and raise a chid together even though they are not in a reationship. Each person may have their own partner so it is possibe that a chid has more than two parents or carers. In the UK however a chid can ony have two ega parents even if more aduts are invoved in their up-bringing. Many gay men, either as individuas or in a coupe, choose to enter co-parenting arrangements with singe femae friends or esbian coupes. Entering co-parenting arrangements is entirey awfu. You may not necessariy be a ega parent to the chid however. That depends on the reationship status of the woman you conceive with, and how you conceive the chid. How to go about co-parenting? Who do I co-parent with? As you wi be raising a chid with your co-parents it is important that you choose to enter this arrangement with someone you know, trust and fee you can raise a chid with. It is for this reason many gay men choose to co-parent with cose friends. Some women who want to co-parent may advertise so you can ook in cassified adverts onine. However, coparenting is ony advisabe with peope you know and trust. How to conceive? Chidren born to co-parents can be conceived either through penetrative sex, using artificia insemination at home or artificia insemination or IVF at a cinic. You, your partner and your feow co-parents wi need to discuss what method you wish to foow. How you conceive can impact on your rights and whether you are ega parent to the chid wi depend on the circumstances. For exampe, if you have sex with a woman, you are automaticay the ega father of any chid born as a resut even if the birth mother is in a marriage or civi partnership. However, if you donate sperm, either at home or through a fertiity cinic, the ega position is more compicated. For information on the different methods of conception read Stonewa s Pregnant Pause. Copies can be obtained from Stonewa s Information Service ( ) or downoaded from Co-parenting agreements Co-parenting agreements set out how a chid wi be raised and each co-parent s roes and responsibiities in reation to that chid. Co-parenting agreements are not egay binding but they are sti vauabe in heping you and your feow co-parents estabish whether you have simiar approaches to raising chidren and gain an understanding of what each of you expect from the arrangement. Agreements wi aso hep in setting out how the aw governs your status and rights. A awyer can assist you in drawing up an agreement. Structure is extremey important for chidren when they are growing up. It teaches them discipine and stabiity and aows them to fee safe and comfortabe to express themseves. Co-parenting agreements are vauabe in providing a structure for your chid s ife. You and your chid s co-parents need to agree on who ooks after your chid, who pays for what, how the chid wi be raised and what type of education they wi receive. It is best if the chid has the same guideines and house rues in both of his or her homes so that they don t get confused about what they are or aren t aowed to do. 20

23 Co-parenting In any co-parenting agreement you shoud consider: Practicaities: Where wi the chid s primary residence be? How much time wi each parent spend with the chid? Wi you have more than one chid together? How wi you decide what the chid s name and surname wi be? Lega considerations: Who wi be the ega parents? Who wi appy for parenta responsibiity and how wi they do it? How wi you protect the status of any co-parents who do not have ega responsibiity (for exampe through your wis)? Financia responsibiities: Who wi pay for what and how wi expenses be divided between co-parents during the pregnancy and throughout the chid s ife? Discipine and rues: Who s in charge? How wi you make sure your chid receives consistent parenting and discipine? Parenting: Wi the chid be brought up in a faith? How and where wi your chid be educated? Who wi attend parents evenings? Changes: What happens if one of the coupes spits up? What happens if someone dies? What if one of the co-parents or co-parenting coupes wants to move abroad? The aw and co-parenting Who are the parents? A chid can ony have two ega parents. Being a ega parent is significant when considering issues such as inheritance, nationaity and financia responsibiity in reation to the chid. This means there are specific ega impications for peope entering into co-parenting arrangements. However, any number of peope can have parenta responsibiity for a chid. Parenta responsibiity Parenta responsibiity gives a person the authority to make decisions about a chid s care (whether or not they are aso a ega parent), for exampe in reation to medica care and education. Additionay it is often needed to make practica arrangements for a chid such as enroing them in schoo or registering them with a GP. There are different ways of acquiring parenta responsibiity, incuding by being named on the birth certificate, by entering into a parenta responsibiity agreement with the chid s ega parents (though ony certain peope can sign these) and by court order. Many peope have a say in their chid s care without obtaining parenta responsibiity or being a ega parent. However, obtaining parenta responsibiity is a way to gain ega recognition from the Court of your roe in your chid s ife whie they are under 16. The birth mother The birth mother of the chid wi aways be considered its ega parent and she wi aways have parenta responsibiity. This can ony be removed if the chid is ater adopted. The birth mother s partner If the birth mother is in a civi partnership or marriage, her husband or partner wi automaticay be considered second ega parent of the chid, uness it is proved that he or she did not consent to the conception. A husband or partner wi automaticay have parenta responsibiity. If the birth mother s partner is invoved in the coparenting arrangement and intends to act as a parent, it is not usuay possibe for her partner to opt out of being a parent. Therefore a birth mother cannot choose to name the bioogica father on the birth certificate instead. If the birth mother is in an unmarried reationship, she can nominate her partner as the chid s second parent if she conceives at a fertiity cinic in the UK and signs the correct forms before conception. The bioogica father Whether you wi be treated as the chid s ega father depends on the birth mother s situation and how the chid is conceived. If you conceive through sexua intercourse, you wi be the ega father. If you conceive artificiay (at a cinic or at home) then your situation depends on the birth mother s situation. 21

24 Co-parenting If the birth mother is married or in a civi partnership you wi not be the chid s ega father, and cannot be named on the birth certificate. This is because a chid can ony have two ega parents and the aw says that the birth mother s civi partner or husband is the second parent. If the birth mother is neither married nor in a civi partnership, there may be different options avaiabe. If you conceive at home, you wi be the ega father and can be named on the birth certificate if the birth mother agrees. If you are named on the birth certificate you wi have parenta responsibiity. If you conceive at a icensed fertiity cinic, the birth mother can choose who is the second ega parent. This coud be the birth mother s unmarried partner, you or your partner. The birth mother and the nominated second parent have to sign the paperwork correcty before the chid is concieved. If you are the ega father, you wi have parenta responsibiity automaticay if you are named on the chid s birth certificate. If you are not named on the birth certificate you can acquire parenta responsibiity ater by signing an agreement with the birth mother or by court order. Partners of ega parents If the birth mother is unmarried and not in a civi partnership, and you conceive at a fertiity cinic, it may be possibe to nominate the nonbioogica father as to the chid s second parent. However, assuming that you are not the ega father (because you are the partner of the ega father), you wi not be a ega parent. It may be possibe for you to acquire parenta responsibiity and there are two ways of doing this, depending on your circumstances. If you and your partner are civi partners and your partner is named on the birth certificate, you can sign a parenta responsibiity agreement with your partner and the birth mother to give you parenta responsibiity. This is a straightforward process. If you and your partner are not civi partners, or if neither of you is a ega parent, you cannot sign a parenta responsibiity agreement to acquire parenta responsibiity. It may be possibe to acquire parenta responsibiity by way of a court order caed a residence order. What happens if there is a break-up? The ega parenthood of the chid wi remain unchanged if there is a break-up. The parenta responsibiity of any parties in a co-parenting agreement wi continue after a break-up uness it is contested in court. Disputes over raising the chid Any coparenting agreement shoud cover the major decisions to be made over a chid s ife and how it is to be raised incuding how you intend to resove disagreements. If there are disagreements then you shoud try to reach cam and considered compromise and continue to act in the best interests of the chid. If the parties invoved cannot reach agreement, they can seek ega advice to hep negotiate a compromise between them or in order to ask the Court to make a decision based on your chid s best interests. The Court is abe to make the foowing orders in this regard: A residence order determines which parent or parents the chid wi ive with A contact order determines the amount and nature of the contact the other parents have with the chid A specific issue or prohibited steps order can be used to resove a specific probem or stop one of the parents from taking a certain action reating to the chid Some peope are entited to appy to Court for these orders; others (incuding many non-parents without parenta responsibiity) wi need to ask the Court s permission to appy. What happens if someone dies? It is important to think about what woud happen to your arrangement if any of you were to die. Who shoud then have the primary care of the chid? How wi this affect the status quo? You shoud therefore ensure that your wi takes account of the chid, since they wi not have any automatic rights of inheritance from co-parents who are not ega parents. 22

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